Review: “Monsters: A Love Story” By Liz Kay

Review of Monsters, A Love Story By Liz Kay

A review by Domoni.

Stacey is a mess. Recently widowed, and therefore a single mother to two young sons, she is just trying to hold her life together. Now she has to learn to navigate the world on her own while simultaneously being thrown into a whole new universe. Stacey is a feminist poet, who has no patience for the boys club. Her work has been optioned as a movie, and she is forced to work with egotistical Hollywood men to turn her collection of poems into a modern feminist Frankenstein movie.

Tommy is a cliche: the handsome movie star who always gets his way. Spoiled and full of himself, he can have any woman he wants. Surprisingly well read, he wants to make Stacey’s work into the moving story he knows it to be. He wants the poet too, and he generally gets what he wants.

This is an adult fairy tale of messed up realities. That makes it rather a good read for people who recognize the mess people generally are. Stacey does a horrible job adjusting to life without her husband, but I don’t think any wife can do a good job adjusting. Her struggles feel very real, from the guilt and anger at the first kiss with a new man, to the fear of letting herself fall for someone who she feels will break her already broken heart. The author does a wonderful job creating a strong but vulnerable woman who does not know how to be herself anymore. Stacey sets herself up and talks herself out of things. She is snarky and angry and emotional. She can stand up for her creation in ways she cannot stand up for herself.

Of course, Tommy and Stacey sleep together and get involved in a messy non-relationship. She knows him to be a self-centered jackass that sleeps around. So she doesn’t expect their relationship to be anything other than coworkers that sleep together. She refuses to look at the realities of what is evolving. She pushes and pulls at Tommy and blames him for not choosing her. When Stacey becomes involved with another man and pushes Tommy away, she spirals further into unhappiness. Pursuing the idea of a new life, Stacey agrees to marry Philip. He is a safe choice; a doctor who, while slightly boring, could be good for her and her sons. So why isn’t Stacey happy?

I was surprised by this story and how much I liked it. The characters were very real and human and messy. Grief is a hard road to walk and the story really respected how life must move forward, but the path is painful.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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